The tweak made to the zombie epic World War Z to appease Chinese censors may only be part of a much bigger picture.
We learned this week that a sequence in the Brad Pitt movie is being changed so as not to upset Chinese movie goers, or more specifically, government officials.
In the offending scene, characters debate the geographic origin of an outbreak that caused a zombie apocalypse and point to China, a Paramount executive told TheWrap.
Hollywood is increasingly reliant on Chinese ticket sales for its bottom line, and if that means censoring its own product to meet with the country’s approval so be it.
Anyone willing to flip through the pages of the book which inspired the movie, author Max Brooks’ World War Z, can see far more material that would offend delicate Chinese sensibilities.
(Book spoilers ahead …)
Turns out the Chinese government tried to cover up the original zombie outbreak, keeping vital information from its populace until the news could no longer be contained. A Chinese naval official with information about the government’s actions hid under the sea for a year fearing the government would track him and his family down.
The book also shows how the Chinese government hid how its shoddy work constructing a dam led to a massive flood which killed thousands. The outrage sparked a revolution which led to a more Democratic country in its place.
Does anyone think these subplots will find their way into the finished film given how skittish Paramount executives were regarding that minor slight listed above?
The novel also shows the United States struggling mightily as the zombie outbreak begins, but eventually the world turns to the U.S to lead them past the nightmarish zombie apocalypse.
The latter might not offend Chinese sensibilities, but those pro-America sentiments may rub liberal Hollywood the wrong way all the same.
World War Z hits theaters nationwide June 21.